Centenary service to honour 34th Battalion Maitland's Own involvement in the Battle of Passchendaele

A march, ceremony and aircraft flyover will take place at Maitland Park this Saturday in honour of the centenary of the Battle of Passchendaele.

The 34th Battalion, also known as Maitland’s Own, was heavily involved in the World War I battle.

The troop entered the battle on 12 October 1917, but after a period of heavy rain the battlefield was a quagmire. Thick mud stopped the troops’ advance and fouled their weapons.

The battle ended in a disastrous defeat, with more than 50 per cent casualties for the 34th. 

The march, ceremony and flyover is a major part of centenary celebrations around Maitland this month.

East Maitland RSL Sub-branch president Peter Hedges said the service had been organised to pay respect to the local diggers who willingly went to war and gave their lives for their country.

“Over half were killed or wounded, in a place like Maitland and the Hunter Valley, that takes a lot of young men out of the population,” he said.

“It was a whole generation of Hunter Valley men that was wiped out.

“We owe it to those men to pay our respects.”

The march will assemble near St. Paul's Church at 10.30am, and march to the cenotaph for the service at 11am.

We owe it to those men to pay our respects.

Peter Hedges